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Friday, October 14, 2011

FACEBOOK “TELLS” YOUR “STORY” IN SECONDS…and it’s not via the TIMELINE feature or other controversial algorithms

By Dan Getz, Blogger

While the newly announced FACEBOOK TIMELINE feature, or controversial algorithms used by companies like FACEBOOK and GOOGLE (and some are decrying as “censorship”) may be the first thing you think of when reading this headline, my story is somewhat different, and may either shock you, or be casually chalked up to “Been There.  Done That.  KNOW THAT.”

Regardless, let me do what FACEBOOK infamously calls “Share”...

I recently was approached by a fairly conservative friend of mine, who among other things, was concerned that her teenage son was having possibly unprotected sex with his girlfriend.  She did not know who the girl was, and other than a hunch (and the undeniable fact that 1 plus 1 does equal two), her theory was exactly that…a HUNCH.

That is when the “investigative reporter” aspect of me “turned on” and I decided to turn to FACEBOOK…the application and not the company, helpline or corporate headquarters (what a joke, albeit not a very funny one, for those of us who have ever tried to call FACEBOOK, search for help on a topic or attempt to contact a live person at FACEBOOK, huh?).

Step one was friending my friend’s son, which I initially feared would not be accepted until I noticed he had over 700 “friends”, seemed to “friend” just about anybody and responded nearly instantly as my “friend” with an “accept”…Red Flag numero uno for that also fairly conservative aspect of me, not to mention that father myself (and did I mention?) “investigative reporter” side of me TOO.

Step two was scrolling through less than a half page of recent posts over the last 10 or 12 days which quickly revealed the following: 1) His “relationship” status had changed 8 days ago from being “single” to “in a relationship” 2) His relationship was established with a specific girl (name withheld I hope for obvious reasons) 7 days earlier and (here’s the clincher) 3) She introduced herself to my friend’s son (saying among a few other things “I think you’re cute”) the SAME DAY his “relationship” status changed (did I mention?) a WHOPPING 8 DAYS EARLIER.

Although my admittedly “gut feeling” conclusion and unfounded opinion is that he PROBABLY is not having sex (yet) with a girl who a mere eight days ago had to remind him she was the girl that had apparently been secretly admiring my friend’s son from a lunch line on certain days of the week, the above TWO steps could be (and WERE by me) performed in less than a minute by virtually anyone…particularly a parent like myself.

While my next “revelation” could be technically ascribed to “creeping” (which my own children have indicated is “someone browsing the pics, profiles or wallposts of ‘friends of friends’ that they do not personally know and sometimes, but not always concludes with the submission of a request to be friends with that friend of a friend”), my friend’s son’s “relationship friend” not only ended up being someone with over a 1000 “friends” herself, but was also someone with over FOUR pages of “older posts” (I stopped at FOUR because at that point, I was starting to get creeped out) with NOTHING else reflected in her status, save the acceptance of her new “friends”.  I was momentarily tempted to “test the waters” by submitting a request to be her “friend” (just to see if she would accept without a second thought), but quickly decided against this action as this would have undoubtedly classified (and undeniably declared and identified) me as a bonefide “CREEPER.”

My conclusion and “advice” to my friend, and just about anyone with children that COULD be sexually active?  Albeit unprofessional, unproven and possibly narrow-minded and judgmental:  Make ‘em get tested for HIV and any other sexually transmitted diseases, ‘cause until the mindset that everyone is our “friend” AND  ignorance (by choice or otherwise) of the available “privacy settings”/”protection” (that can virtually eliminate these types of “problems”) are dealt a “death blow”, consider your children, friends and family UNPROTECTED.

Although requested prior to the publication of this article, FACEBOOK did not provide any comments or feedback.

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